Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Apple iPad

What is it with the new Apple iPad that has the tech savvy gadgetomaniacs going gaga over this so called steroid ingested, bloated, over sized or what not iPhone or iPod Touch or what ever it is 'just a copy of'?

For one and above all it is an 'Apple' product and as much as it may seem to have disappointed so many eagerly awaiting the wonder machine, this thing has promise. It's not just the reputation of the company but certainly the brains behind it which may just tilt the balance in favor of the iPad and bring in a drastic change in the way entertainment, browsing, reading and many other things are seen.

First things first! It is not an over-sized iPhone or iPod Touch. It is rather a shrunken laptop replacement with a custom designed 1GHz Apple A4 processor which brings the really fast and reliable technology used in the iPhone to the iPad taking the experience to a really new level. With the weight at a very sweet pound and a half people will never have to grudge about carrying something heavy on their shoulders and the sleek and slim design with a 9.7 inch screen makes it easy all the more. People may henceforth never think of leaving home without their personal computer and voila; you almost have a laptop on the go! Everywhere!

I believe the iPad is not some thing to replace the smart phone. Rather it is to make the browsing experience much more better. With iWork becoming really easy to use compared to the iPhone and the entire webpage visible in one screen the iPad really overcomes a lot of what the iPhone was lacking. Browsing, reading online, watching videos and editing documents or presentations is going to be much more easier and practical on the iPad. Add to this a 10 hour battery life and for the really adventurous ones, the 3G network would mean internet on the go without having to worry about finding a Wi-Fi hot spot or a power socket.

Giving a new meaning to personal computing, there are two more things which the iPad succeeds in accomplishing. It comes in handy as a digital photo viewer and an e-book reader. Which means bye-bye to the photo viewer for a certainty but how successful the iPad will be in converting the e-reading market depends on how it tackles the issue of back light and the superb E-ink technology which the present day e-readers boast of! The Apple bandwagon surely must have thought a way out of that!

People still have two more major concerns which are being aired all over. No flash! No camera! Well, none of the apple products have ever supported flash before and I don't know what the fuss is all about. You-tube works fine and that is all that should matter, I guess. But the camera. Oh yes! I came across a legitimate reason for leaving that out too. The cranky AT & T network was never going to support the volume of video conferencing that could arise from people gobbling up a possibility like that and of course the phone companies would cry sore if their businesses suffer. Their is still time for Gtalk and Skype to take over the communication industry.

And those who say a camera to click pictures. Oh well, I have nothing to say to them. How much the touch screen Keyboard is convenient to use is something to be seen. Apple they say suffers on their promised battery life and the absence of a USB port are things that Apple may have to figure out in their future versions of the iPad. Will these issues stop people from actually going ahead and replacing their personal computer all together or not or wether they see the Ipad as none of all this but an all together new device to proudly own are going to be the biggest questions.

The iPad most certainly will win hearts with its user interface which definitely looks like nothing any body has ever seen or experienced before. This exactly is what I believe will either make or break this piece of extreme human technology. Whether the iPad ushers in a completely new era of personal devices with the 'concept' or 'idea' making its mark on the people more than the product itself or will it sink into an unlikely silent oblivion is the question waiting to be answered!

And yes of course. Then there are the applications!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Muslims Need Unity Not Uniformity!

It is not very often that one comes across words of such profound wisdom that it makes one stop instantly to ponder deeply at what has been just said. The realization then dawns that it is so very true and you probably thought about it all the time but just failed to put the same in words.

This is what happened when I recently heard Imam Suhaib Webb use this phrase, 'Muslims need unity, not uniformity'. Now Suhaib Webb is kind of a new discovery for me. He is one of those Americans who had a hard time during his childhood and discovered Islam as a youth, got so fascinated by it that spend time some where in the Middle East; in his case Al-Azhar of Egypt (where he still is); to learn more about Islam and is now a full fledged scholar sharing and teaching Islam with the people of America.

Muslims should realize that Islam doesn't present a very rigid framework of dos and don'ts as one would tend to think or believe but is in fact a very vibrant and dynamic system which always never has one absolutely right option to choose. The Islamic law is a wide spectrum which lies within the allowed but yet has multitude of differences. Muslims can and should beg to differ on various contentious issues and work with wisdom and deep contemplation every time they face a problem.

Now there is a bit of more understanding to do. The traditional sources of Islam, i.e. The Quran, Muslim's Holy Book and the life of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) shall always remain the primary and most basic sources of guidance to which Muslims will turn to for help when ever they have a life option to make. This probably means they wouldn't go the Christian way who now seem so far away from what Christianity originally taught, though such can be feared with Islam too with the advent of so many so called "liberals', 'moderates' or 'reformists' who in their attempt to set things straight deviate so much from the real spirit of the faith.

Coming back to our point, Muslims need to staunchly unite on theological basis on which there is no chance to budge. Islam offers pretty straight forward concepts on life, God, life after death, prohibitions and obligations, etc which Muslims have to comply with. But apart from that come hundreds of issues where in it cannot be expected from more than a billion people to act in the same manner, more so to be in uniformity with how Muslims lived for all these centuries. With the advent of globalization, easy travel and the spread of Islam to every corner of the world, Muslims have to come to terms with not only geographical and cultural differences but also the differences arising from the war of ideas.

How can one think today that there should be standing on common grounds in terms of say dress, food, language or societal makeup. Each of these have guidance from the traditional sources of course, but it can never so happen that there is absolute uniformity among all Muslims around the world on these issues. These are mere outwardly things. Imagine ideas and concepts. There can always be so much of debate and in the end there definitely is freedom in what opinion you adopt and surely you can be different from the others.

Muslims should learn to marvel sometimes in the diversity they adopt, while professing absolute, unrelenting and uniform faith. These should become points of extensive academic contemplation and research. There should always be rethinking on how you adopt to new challenges and how you gel with changing times to establish new patterns. Come to think of issues like democracy, global warming, poverty alleviation, education, birth control, insurance, internet and social networking, etc. All these are very intimidating problems for the Muslim scholars and it requires significant academic exercise to find solutions for. But we should eventually learn that we need to respect emergent differences on geographical and periodical basis that arise from such exercise. There should be freedom to adopt changing rulings based on the various parameters and requirements. An example to elucidate might be that birth control can be prohibited, partially allowed or completely allowed based on multiple factors and differences can still exist in different parts of the Muslim world.

Muslims should learn to realize the reality of such differences and learn to live with them but at the same time bind with each other world wide in a common bubble of brotherhood. Your differences should raise the esteem of the one you differ from and his right for the same be respected and at the same time every effort be made to avoid intolerance from cringing up, which in reality is the actual vice plaguing the Muslim world arising from such differences.

Newer times bring in newer problems and we as an Ummah* should rise to the occasion to not just relate with them and find solutions to them but also offer the same solution to the people of the world. This can form a very crucial and beneficial aspect of dawah* too. Muslims should learn to recreate the lost glory of its predecessors instead of just bragging about Islam's rich and resplendent history. Think of it. We have failed miserably to continue the torch of enlightenment which the Muslims had lit centuries ago and are now languishing in a heap of misery which is our own doing or quite ironically, undoing.

Ummah: The followers of The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)
Dawah: Invitation to Islam

Friday, August 14, 2009


He was not alone, but there was no communication among the nearly fifty people in the dimly lit hall. There was stillness in the air. It was still pitch dark outside on the chilly November night and that meant nearly no sound of moving traffic. An occasional cough or a new person entering would be heard and a slight fidgeting movement observed. But there was no silence either. The continuous intonation going on in the background touched his ears often but the meaning of all of it was obscure. His eyes shifted from the vivid designs on the mat on which he was standing to empty void and his mind wandered into aimless random musings…

‘When no amount of remorse helps... When repentance is overwhelmed by sin… Wow! What a thought. Wonder how many people go through that? Many may be. Well isn't it obvious, every body’s life has loopholes somewhere or the other. It’s so difficult to see a perfect human being, whatever that means. Or perhaps it is capricious to imagine such a possibility. Capricious? Is that the right usage? It means wishful thinking though. The country does not run on wishful thinking but that is what the bloody politicians are trying to do all the time. The only thing that can free the people from their leaders’ evil and avaricious bondage is a good education. And a good education is hard to find. In fact the entire education system is going down the drains.

But what great have well educated societies achieved? One thing they have probably learned is to challenge everything around them. And this way they have produced people who challenged even the good things, taking the entire value system for a ride. Adultery is fine as long as it involves two consenting partners. Whoa! Where is the world going to? Human rights are important only when it comes to dealing with the guilty. Wait a minute. May be a little change in the pattern of thinking is required. More important is not what people act or do or think. Whether they are right or wrong is inconsequential. More important to me is me, I! ‘Khudi mein doob kar pa ja surag e zindagi; Tu agar mera nahi banta na ban apna to ban!’ Iqbal. That guy was great.

While reading about a lady called Ismat Chughtai, described as a path breaking novelist in Urdu fiction writing, I learned that she achieved instant success. I should have guessed why? Her writing is way ahead of its time. Can you believe it? At a time when Urdu itself seems to be sinking, there is this lady here who has fans even in the western literary circles. And why should that be. Oh yes! One of her novels deals with female sexuality and lesbianism in a seemingly conservative society like the Indian sub-continent. Easy isn’t it.

More often it has been the introverted creative humans who tend to break the norms. That’s the reason why artists or poets become famous for their bold and custom defying take on issues. M.F Hussain? Deepa Mehta? Isn’t it the same with the lovers?The best love today is when the lover commits shirk towards the object of his affection. One of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s most famous song has lyrics like, ‘tera naam loon zubaan pe, tere aage sar jhuka doon; mera ishq keh raha hai, mein tujhe khuda bana doon’. Straight shirk!

But what is more important is the spirit. Take for instance a man praying. What is the use if his prayer becomes a mere physical one and there is no spirit behind it? If he is not able to alienate himself from the world around him and control his mind, as if he is in communication with God? That is more important rather than the monotonous exercise of an explicitly physical prayer. People get fiercely agitated if for example someone desecrates the Quran. But they have never understood what the Quran really wants to say in the first place! Isn’t that a bigger blasphemy of the book? A sin in itself?

Reminds me of Se7en. People should watch that movie. The seven deadly sins! The allegory to Dante’s ‘the Divine Comedy’ is excellent. I don’t know if the use of the word allegory here is correct. I will have to check on that. The seven deadly sins, Gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath! What do I suffer from? Lust? Man. I should have kissed Salma that day. What an opportunity. I will never know if she would have agreed. But I know she kind of liked me. She was a different girl. Nobody could ever guess her. But may be me. May be I understood her. I think had a chance. She was not beautiful but she had something in her that made her a whole lot attractive. Why am I thinking about her now? Whenever I remember her I don’t miss musing, ‘did I save myself committing a sin?’

Robin Sharma was right. Nobody ever regrets ever having done a good thing when one is lying on his death bed. And the contrary? Having committed a wrong thing, a sin? Yes. May be a lot too. But I have no idea how much that matters. May be it does. May be I should start trying to become a good person. What does it take to do that?Remorse? Repentance? Whatever. What lies in my future? The only thing certain is death! Everything else looks so bleak, and so ambiguous.

That story about the two sisters was great. One of them got really close to this guy she met on the internet and was contemplating meeting him…’

‘Allah-u-akbar’, he heard the imam and the congregation went into ruku.

Friday, February 27, 2009

What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us

Significant as they may be, the past for teaching us lessons and the future for providing us hope, we live, dwell and exist in the present. Just as an individual to himself is the most significant figment of existence, the moment he lives in is all that matters, for the past is gone and unchangeable and the future uncertain and undefined.

Man should breathe every moment with the sole aim of bettering himself, live a life of value and raise the standards he sets for himself. One thing a person will never regret at the end of his life is the values he cherished, the positive and productive goals he nurtured, the grit and determination he expressed in standing firm on what is the absolutely right thing to do.

Man is made of immense capability and strength to over haul the largest of obstacles in life; to accomplish huge and unimaginably sublime dreams and aspirations. We should put our heart to such dreams and nurture this capacity in us, develop it into the gigantic potential that we have.

An example that can suffice much of what I am trying to explain is that of Lance Armstrong, who fought testicular cancer to achieve the amazing fete of winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive years. Now that is the nature of human potential and I believe every human has such capability lying dormant in him and it is only a matter of realization before one can embark on a journey of self discovery and attempt to achieve the near impossible, on the way displaying his reason d'ĂȘtre.

It is very important that we set our priorities right and put our energy in the right direction. Highly significant is the fact that every person discovers his innate capability and passion, his field of interest, the things that drive him and determine what he has been made for. Then he needs to relentlessly work towards that goal with zeal, rigor and discipline. He will suffer setbacks and challenges but to face them with courage and not lose hope will surmise how man can give true meaning to his life.

Would like to end with an Urdu couplet from Mohammed Iqbal, one of the most famous poet, thinker, philosopher and writer from the Indian subcontinent,

Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle
Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kiya hai
(Exalt yourself so high that before issuing each decree of fate
God will Himself ask you, His servant, 'Tell me, what is your wish?')

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sweet Beginnings!

The reason beats me too. Why should a person who does not exactly hate writing take so long to enter the world of blogs. One very candid but simple reason could be procrastination! The same reason which probably has kept me from doing many things I would have loved to or desired for so long.

I owe a few explanations, one of which is why I named my blog the way I did. 'Neural Tangles' is I presume a very new term most of you have heard but I shall try to devote an explanatory post for it sometime insha'Allah. The other is how exactly I intend to use my blog, what purpose would it serve and things of such nature. Which reminds me, of all things, my readers should expect a lot of humor in my writings.

My energy would be spend more in making this stuff immensely creative and interesting rather than exactly looking at trying to pen in stuff which is beautiful or of a high literary caliber. I could even, if I feel like want to share some stuff I have already written in the past.

Fear is, as most know one of the most common of human emotions but what fear could one have while starting a blog? The fear of discontinuation, or that of perennial writer's block, much less momentary pangs of fear of being rejected or ridiculed by the reader's world who by the way are what writers binge on for their success. But man is akin to trials and tribulations, and fear, no matter how strong has stiff competition from yet another human emotion, courage!

My blog could be expected to be on a very wide range of stuff, very much like my mind which has time and again gathered pleasure from numerous and vastly unrelated sources and genres of human preoccupation. For many this blog could be a seriously unexpected journey into the many facets of personality that I own.

Most of all I hope, insha'Allah that this blog shall play a major role in being productive and turn out to be both a valuable asset as well as a vibrant and concrete portal for expressing my thoughts, ambitions and desires.

This post is probably meant to be an introductory of sorts, a raiser of expectations or a warning of I know not what. Hope you have the ride of your life as my reader, while I read your minds trying to figure out what suits you best!

Some times ideas just strike your mind, don't they. So, it just hit me, how would it be if I end each of my posts with a nice saying? Sounds good, doesn't it? So here goes...

Wish me luck!

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it , however."
- Richard Bach, Illusions.